Apr 072015
 

Package-in-the-mailPublishers send lots of cookbooks to food bloggers, hoping for publicity. If you choose to write about a book, they might supply images and recipes. If you’re not going to write about it, they might say: how about a shoutout on social media?

Do you owe them something in exchange for this free book? If so, what?

This is an area of confusion for many food bloggers. You want to be nice and do the right thing. But understand that, first of all, you owe them nothing.

Even if you requested a book, you are entitled to read it and decide not to Continue reading »

Mar 312015
 
Kathleen-Flinn-head-shot

Kathleen Flinn has published three acclaimed food memoirs.

A guest post by Kathleen Flinn 

Who writes three food memoirs? Before they’re 50 years old, no less? There’s me, Ruth Reichl, Nigel Slater… it’s not a long list. Food memoirs are tricky, though. Here are some things I’ve learned along the way:

1. Conflict drives narrative.

Your grandmother might have made beautiful dumplings. You may be obsessed with kumquats. But does your story pass what my journalism mentor called the “Who Cares” test?

Ultimately, readers keep turning pages because they want to find out Continue reading »

Mar 242015
 
Sunrise

Some writers write at sunrise. I’m fast asleep. When I get to my desk, I tackle email first.

You’ve read a million times that writers need to write as soon as they get up or as soon as they get to their desks. It’s the conventional wisdom passed down by writing teachers and experts everywhere.

Here’s my dirty little secret: I don’t write first thing.

Why not? I have a different process for shallow work and deep work. Here’s my reasoning:

1. I need to warm up.

I’m not ready for intense concentration first thing. Shallow stuff like Continue reading »

Mar 172015
 
Amy-Sherman

Amy Sherman started a food blog 12 years ago, before there were ads or sponsored posts.

A guest post by Amy Sherman

Right now there’s a lot of buzz about how hard it is to earn an income from food blogging. I find it hard to be part of those discussions because I have never looked at blogging as a way to earn a living. I think of my food blog as a marketing vehicle and a platform and it’s led to a thriving career.

I started my food blog, Cooking with Amy, in 2003. There were no ad networks, no ads that I can remember, no sponsored posts or spokesperson deals. Food bloggers weren’t getting book deals or TV deals — let alone movie deals — and they certainly didn’t expect to Continue reading »

Mar 102015
 
meatwork1

Adam Roberts of Amateur Gourmet was on fire last week in the media, due to two events that reverberated on social media.

Last week Adam Roberts of Amateur Gourmet led the news among food bloggers with two major online events. On his blog, he stunned fans by announcing that his advertising income has dropped so far that he can’t make a Continue reading »

Mar 032015
 
Bryant-Terry-photo

Cookbook author Bryant Terry’s book promotion plan includes singing, rapping, and tying into social activism.

(Photo by Paige Green)

Four-time cookbook author and food activist Bryant Terry loves to perform, whether addressing a conference crowd, singing, or demonstrating how to cook a dish. It’s all part of getting his message across that good food should be a right, not a privilege. At all of these events, he’s also selling cookbooks.

I’ve attended a few of my fellow Oaklander’s events and enjoyed the innovative ways he gets his message across while selling books:

Q. You seem to have more creative ways to sell books than the average cookbook author. You read from your book during a pop-up dinner by another chef, for example. 

A. Philip has been a supporter of my work for a couple of years. We came up with the idea and co-planned the menu together. I did some speaking between courses, some rapping and some entertaining.

I have done events with chefs before. On a book tour, a restaurant hosted me for a book event. The kitchen made recipes from Afro Vegan and they did a Continue reading »

Feb 242015
 
Eggs-OxbowMarket.Napa

Steak tartare, fried eggs and Vietnamese herb salad, an unusual combo but it worked beautifully for brunch.

I adore links that teach me how to be better at what I do. Sometimes people send them to me, and sometimes I discover them online. I cull through dozens to find the best information for food writers. As a result, these kinds of lists are some of my most popular posts.

This particular list came from my last quarterly newsletter. I’m collecting links now for my next newsletter on March 30. It’s free and won’t clog up your inbox because it only shows up 4 times per year. So please consider signing up.

Now, on to what’s new in our world:

  1. How to use the DMCA to prevent people from stealing your online content.
  2. To see what’s trending online in recipe searches, here are sites to visit.
  3. Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks writes about maintaining a long-term blog.
  4. How Ten Speed Press became a cookbook powerhouse.
  5. Here’s what happens on a cookbook shoot.
  6. If you write about special diets, here’s an excellent exploration into the gluten-free craze.
  7. Why is it so hard to catch your own typos?
  8. Need a media kit for your blog? Here’s a free template.
  9. If you want to become a star, start your own YouTube cooking channel.
  10. Mark Bittman changed the way he writes recipes for his newest cookbook, and says we’ve all been doing it wrong.
  11. To pitch newspaper food sections on your latest book or a story, here’s a helpful chart.
  12. The New York Times held a Food for Tomorrow conference and you can watch all the videos for free.
  13. Food magazine editors moved around a lot last year. Eater has a chart.
  14. If you want to write long-form journalism, Eater is interested.
  15. If you take ads on your blog, you might want to know which ad network has the biggest market share.

Just for Fun

  1. Here are classic New Yorker stories about chefs, free to read.
  2. Like Food Memoir? Here’s a long list of the best ones, according to a reviewer at Abe Books.

Continue reading »